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View Full Version : Beach Blanket Buffet or Topsiders?


HoosierFrog
08-15-2008, 12:48 PM
For all you dissers out there or anyone who just wants to throw in there two cents. When first boarding, which do you prefer and why? Is the only difference the crowd, or is the view and food selection part of your choice?

TIA,

Tim

skylynx
08-15-2008, 12:52 PM
You won't have to agonize over this choice...one's on Wonder and the other is on Magic. :-)

HoosierFrog
08-15-2008, 01:04 PM
If I would have only read more closely, my apologies. Here I thought I had actually learned the ship, lol. Are there usually two places to eat when boarding the Wonder? I've heard of people beng directed to one location but requesting to go to another, but so far it's been vague to me.

If anyone wants to post about the Magic Topsiders vs the Wonder's BBB, they are more than welcome since I did initially label the thread that way. Of course, I may still have that backwards. Well, I'm still up for a chuckle on that part.

BelleEm2
08-15-2008, 01:05 PM
Topsiders and Beach Blanket Buffet are essentially the same restaurant. Topsiders is on The Magic and BBB is on The Wonder, so you would not have to decide between the two.

If you meant to ask about Parrot Cay as compared to Topsiders/BBB on embarkation day, I'll answer that with my opinion. ;) We prefer Parrot Cay after boarding initially. It's MUCH less crowded (so moving around with carryon bags is usually less of a hassle), and I like the feel of the calmer atmosphere when I'm tired from traveling. We eat breakfast and sometimes lunch at Topsiders/BBB nearly every day of the cruise, and do so, normally, for the view of the water and the ports. PC isn't an overly attractive port at all, so I would have no reason to sit out on deck for the view.

HoosierFrog
08-15-2008, 01:08 PM
Topsiders and Beach Blanket Buffet are essentially the same restaurant. Topsiders is on The Magic and BBB is on The Wonder, so you would not have to decide between the two.

If you meant to ask about Parrot Cay as compared to Topsiders/BBB on embarkation day, I'll answer that with my opinion. ;) We prefer Parrot Cay after boarding initially. It's MUCH less crowded (so moving around with carryon bags is usually less of a hassle), and I like the feel of the calmer atmosphere when I'm tired from traveling. We eat breakfast and sometimes lunch at Topsiders/BBB nearly every day of the cruise, and do so, normally, for the view of the water and the ports. PC isn't an overly attractive port at all, so I would have no reason to sit out on deck for the view.

Yes, I knew I meant something to this effect, thanks so much...in my excitement of going on a cruise, my mind began mixing restaraunt names...maybe by cruise time I'll have it all down

VacationKicks
08-15-2008, 01:20 PM
We went up to Topsiders when we boarded. We were number 4 boarding and we were about the first people at the buffet. We wanted to eat here so the kids could go swimming asap, which they did. They were the first ones in the Mickey Pool, when that got crowded they moved on and were the first in the Goofy Pool. We liked that we could bring our food outside and watch the kids swim.

mmouse37
08-15-2008, 01:32 PM
Another vote for Parrot Cay....much calmer experience. They let you leave your carryons at the entrance to the restaurant so you are not tripping over them at your feet. Plus the servers bring you your beverages, you don't have to get up to get them. It is nice and cool with the A/C.

It is totally a personal preference. In cooler months I may consider eating outside at Topsiders that first lunch but I hate dealing with humidity, wind, bugs and birds (which at times you can experience up at Topsiders while in port)....but I also have to add that during the week I LOVE to eat my breakfast outside at Topsiders (cool ocean breezes, no bugs, nary a bird). It is just that first day that I like to eat embarkation lunch at Parrot Cay.

cruisinmama06
08-15-2008, 01:34 PM
OK so Parrot Cay will be open on Wonder along with BBB when we first board?

Thanks! That's good to know. :thumbsup2

mmouse37
08-15-2008, 01:47 PM
OK so Parrot Cay will be open on Wonder along with BBB when we first board?

Thanks! That's good to know. :thumbsup2

And FYI....the staff may try to steer you upstairs when you first board but you can politely decline and say you wish to dine in Parrot Cay.

cruisinmama06
08-15-2008, 01:51 PM
And FYI....the staff may try to steer you upstairs when you first board but you can politely decline and say you wish to dine in Parrot Cay.

Perfect thanks! :flower3:

BelleEm2
08-15-2008, 02:49 PM
The only time when I've ever had a problem with entering Parrot Cay at embarkation was in the Med. We boarded on deck one, as opposed to deck three at PC, and we were taken in express elevators to deck nine, where a CM would announce your family name and steer you in the direction of Topsiders. We knew the CM announcing our name in that instance and asked him why we couldn't go down to Parrot Cay, and he said that the lower decks weren't available for guests yet (we were some of the first onboard). What he meant was that they weren't cleaned to immaculate perfection. So we were forced to eat at Topsiders. Of course, it wasn't bad... crowded, but I certainly liked the port in Barcelona better than PC.

CyKosis
08-15-2008, 03:11 PM
So when you board the ship, is Parrot Cay a buffet as well? :confused3 I know BBB is, but Ive never been on a Disney cruise before either.

mmouse37
08-15-2008, 03:14 PM
So when you board the ship, is Parrot Cay a buffet as well? :confused3 I know BBB is, but Ive never been on a Disney cruise before either.


Yes, basically the same food and buffet line as upstairs but your beverages are served to you.

mmackeymouse
08-15-2008, 03:51 PM
Neither?

If we do either, we are definitely going to do Parrot Cay.

We are definitely buffet people, but I know the "not to be missed items" are the shrimp and cold soups, and we are fans of neither.

We plan (knock on wood) to be in the first few groups onboard. If we opt for PC over BBB, would we miss out on premium pool seats to those that choose BBB?

If we head straight to the pool, grab some snacks, then decide to do PC around 1:30, when the pool gets crowded, would that be a better option?

Should we scratch the whole buffet thing, and just go straight to the pool?

3princessMommy
08-15-2008, 05:33 PM
We ran into a problem when we boarded about 1:30pm. We wanted to go to Parrot Cay, but it was FULL :scared1: . So we had to go upstairs. This wasn't the best with four kids under 5 - although we were lucky enough to get a table. I guess we were one of the first families turned away from Parrot Cay, but by the time we got our food and sat down there was a HUGE line outside the buffet and no vacant tables anywhere.

owensamo
08-15-2008, 06:55 PM
If we head straight to the pool, grab some snacks, then decide to do PC around 1:30, when the pool gets crowded, would that be a better option?

Should we scratch the whole buffet thing, and just go straight to the pool?

How about both? Go to the buffet, then exit outside and turn left. Follow the port side of the ship, and there's a little hallway that leads around to the Mickey Pool area. Grab a table by the pool, and enjoy your buffet meal and the pool at the same time.

You could even get the kids set up with an adult at the pool, then send another adult (or adult and child combo) to the buffet to get the food. I've done this with breakfast to bring it down to the room, or a lunch tray to eat with people who want Pizza on deck. It works great - but it takes some practice to get meals for 3 on one tray! :rotfl:

Amanda

kmaclou
08-15-2008, 08:52 PM
My family looks forward to sitting outside on the deck watching everyone come towards the ship while sitting down for lunch at Topsiders. Just sitting there basking in the sunshine. :)

Dee72
08-15-2008, 08:54 PM
We went to Beach Blanket for our first lunch, and it was bad. It also seemed very dirty because it was so crowded the servers could not clean the tables fast enough. You literally had to grab a dirty one the minute someone stood up to leave.

I don't know if all of that is usually the case, but we ate there for the embarkation luncheon and avoided it after that.

BWV Dreamin
08-15-2008, 08:56 PM
So, if I may clarify, when I initally board the Wonder for my 3 nite cruise, I can elect to eat in Parrot Cay restaraunt instead of the buffet on deck 9 for lunch before disembarkation(leaving Port Canaveral)?

BelleEm2
08-15-2008, 09:39 PM
So, if I may clarify, when I initally board the Wonder for my 3 nite cruise, I can elect to eat in Parrot Cay restaraunt instead of the buffet on deck 9 for lunch before disembarkation(leaving Port Canaveral)?

Yup, exactly. Although, Parrot Cay will also be buffet-style, not a sit-down lunch. There will be nowhere to have a sit down meal for embarkation lunch. But Parrot Cay is a much calmer atmosphere and drinks are brought to you by wait staff.

mikiclements
08-16-2008, 12:02 AM
Perfect thanks! :flower3:

They really do try to steer you away from Parrot Cay. They do this also if you want to eat there rather than at the bar b que on Castaway Cay. I had to become very firm and almost angry for this young man to let me through to Parrot Cay.

I can't figure out why they do that. It is poor customer service.

owensamo
08-16-2008, 07:17 AM
They really do try to steer you away from Parrot Cay.

Oddly enough, on both of our 4-night cruises, we've had the opposite happen - both times, we were steered *towards* Parrot Cay! We had to specify we wanted to go to BBB, and then they just sort of pointed us to the elevators and tried to steer the next group to PC!

Of course, we try to get one of the first boarding groups - we've boarded in group 2 and 4 - so neither restaurant is anywhere near full. Is it possible that later in the day, when PC has had more turnover, they try to steer away from it because they think it's full, or the servers need time to clean, clear, etc?

I honestly don't recall whether they did that on our 7-night - we just went up to Topsiders, but I don't remember if they specifically tried to get us to go into PC.

Amanda

momm2four
08-16-2008, 08:40 AM
Amanda, we had the same experience on the Wonder. We walked in, were announced and then the CM smiled and motioned us toward parrot cay. I just smiled and pointed upwards and he pointed toward the elevators.

We were among the early boarders as well, and we were able to grab a table in the shade (Under the ledge that is deck 10). The boys wanted to swim first, so my DH went through the BBB buffet and then I went when he got back. Plutos was open as well, because my boys got chicken fingers and fries for their lunch. (I'm pretty sure I'm remembering that correctly)

Lori P. :)

mmackeymouse
08-16-2008, 09:58 AM
How about both? Go to the buffet, then exit outside and turn left. Follow the port side of the ship, and there's a little hallway that leads around to the Mickey Pool area. Grab a table by the pool, and enjoy your buffet meal and the pool at the same time.

You could even get the kids set up with an adult at the pool, then send another adult (or adult and child combo) to the buffet to get the food. I've done this with breakfast to bring it down to the room, or a lunch tray to eat with people who want Pizza on deck. It works great - but it takes some practice to get meals for 3 on one tray! :rotfl:

Amanda


Actually, I am one of the "kids." It will be four adults. My sister and I are currently 21 and 25 respectively. Then, our parents. So, we will actually be aiming for the adult pool probably.

Thanks for the idea though! Haha.

Magic Family
08-16-2008, 10:16 AM
The weather was probably the biggest factor for us. We're from Michigan...and the day we arrived was gorgeous and sunny. We went to Topsiders and ate outside in the warm sun (in December). Beautiful...

cobbler
08-16-2008, 11:17 AM
So for those of you that arrive early so you don't have the problem of finding seats at either place, what time do you arrive?

What time is the earliest you can arrive and board?

Magic Family
08-16-2008, 11:37 AM
So for those of you that arrive early so you don't have the problem of finding seats at either place, what time do you arrive?

What time is the earliest you can arrive and board?

We arrived at 10:00 and we boarded in the second group (although I don't recall what time that was). I do know it seemed like we had the ship to ourselves for some time. We wanted to make the most of the day, so we didn't mind waiting in the terminal for a few hours...lots of photo ops, etc.

owensamo
08-16-2008, 06:18 PM
Actually, I am one of the "kids." It will be four adults. My sister and I are currently 21 and 25 respectively. Then, our parents. So, we will actually be aiming for the adult pool probably.

Thanks for the idea though! Haha.

No problem! Actually, this is probably even easier - just send everyone through the line, then head to the adult pool area. Since most of the people hitting the pool early have kids, the adult pool is pretty empty during embarkation - at least, so far as I've seen. You shouldn't have any problems finding a table on deck 9 near the adult pool if you get on early.

Amanda

owensamo
08-16-2008, 06:22 PM
So for those of you that arrive early so you don't have the problem of finding seats at either place, what time do you arrive?

What time is the earliest you can arrive and board?

We try to arrive by 10am - they start letting people into the terminal between 10 and 10:30. Boarding usually starts between 11:30 and 12.

Boarding group 1 is concierge and suites, so the first people who get there usually end up with group 2. I'm not sure how many there are in each boarding group, but we got checked in between 10:30 and 11 on our last cruise and were in group 4.

We've arrived at the port as elary as 9:30, so we have had to wait outside before they start letting people into the terminal in the past, but it's no big deal - there are benches. Then inside, once you get checked in, there are TVs to keep the little ones occupied, and they bring out characters for photos and stuff too - they have a ship's photographer and those pictures are available for sale in Shutter's later. We figure the sooner we get on the ship, the sooner the cruise officially starts! Actually, I personally mark any time in the terminal as cruise time in my mind, so as early as we can get there, the better. :rotfl:

Amanda

nzdisneymom
08-16-2008, 07:31 PM
We head up to the buffet because the kids like to get food from Pluto's for lunch - they go through the line at Pluto's and then meet us inside to eat.